Oscars adds a U.K. hub for telecast after backlash over international travel

With less than a month until showtime, the 93rd Oscars are taking another pass at the script.

Show producers Steven Soderbergh, Jesse Collins and Stacey Sher remain determined to have an in-person ceremony April 25 in Los Angeles, but told nominees Tuesday in a virtual meeting that they’ve added a British hub after some backlash from nominees about international travel restrictions.

The main event will take place at Los Angeles’ Union station, including a modified red carpet component, but producers are planning something special for the U.K. location. The show is also working with local broadcast affiliates around the world to provide satellite links for other international nominees to appear virtually. They are not totally ruling out Zoom speeches, but are hoping it doesn’t come to that.

Although plans and requirements remain fluid, attendees have been told they’re expected to quarantine for 10 days before the show. And everyone must bring a mask, even as the show is being designed so that people don’t have to wear them onstage or in the audience. (There will also be a rotation of nominees in the room throughout the evening.)

The Hollywood Reporter said that there will be a “state-of-the-art” testing facility just for the Academy Awards, and that additional quarantining costs for nominees will be offset by partnerships with airlines and hotels.

And while most of the traditional events leading up to the Oscars have been canceled, an outdoor celebration for nominees is planned for the day prior the show.

Show producers sent an introductory email to Academy members last week, detailing how the COVID-19 delayed event will be conducted and warning there would not be “an option to zoom into the show.

“We are going to great lengths to provide a safe and ENJOYABLE evening for all of you in person, as well as for all the millions of film fans around the world, and we feel the virtual thing will diminish those efforts,” the email stated.

As for dress code, the producers gently ruled out the kind of casual dress that popped up at the Golden Globes: “Formal is totally cool if you want to go there, but casual is really not.”

The 93rd Oscars will be broadcast live on ABC on April 25 at 8. EDT/5 PDT.

Contributing: Bryan Alexander

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